Content needs to shift almost as fast as lightning, almost. But lightning never strikes in the same place twice.
Web content does, daily. At least that’s what every business owner hopes – to have multiple hits on their web presence from the same user. Content trends indicate that the possibility is more than likely.
The Content Marketing Institute-Marketing Profs study in 2016 showed that most North American business-to-business marketers planned to increase their content generation. How they will develop content strategies going forward will be representative of a difference in today’s web copy mindset. It’s all about the storytelling – and then some.
Web Copy Plays Show and Tell with Your Business and Its Customers
Whereas content was once looked upon as food for thought to fill a blank web screen, content is now deemed more serious than ever. The disdain for “fake news” and Snopes-worthy stories (that are rumors at best) has borne a new kind of web consumer: the truth seeker.
The demand for solid, substantive web content is not only echoed from businesses and consumers alike, but from Google analytics as well. Why?
Effective and Efficient – Either It is or It Isn’t
Google has reset the way it values content. Content optimization is still important, but the quality of content versus quantity of SEO indicators has been brought back into balance.
Consumers aren’t just hungry for great content: They want to be able to bite their teeth into it, leaving them chomping at the bit for more. It’s a business’s dream come true.
Today’s content needs aren’t just about having accessibility to all things information. It’s about time: the value of our time – and not having it wasted.
We want the right information on the first click or swipe. Content needs to possess effectiveness and efficiency. No bait-and-switch copy. No guts-without-the-glory gab. It should be “just the facts, ma’am” with a little entertainment on the side.
Scroll, Stop and Share
According to an article last year in Adweek, more than 82 percent of video views come from mobile devices. More than 65 percent of consumers make purchases online through mobile as well.
When creating web content, most digital marketers struggle to have their desktop content translate well to mobile devices. It’s not an easy task.
Content strategists mull over this dilemma, looking to find alignment between effective messaging and efficient delivery. It’s now all about the scroll, how to get the user to stop and share your story. Results matter. Don’t they?
Content Breeds Opportunity
Web copy, on a company site, can effectively do two things: establish a brand presence and execute sales enablement. Sure, there are other sub-categories within each, but brand presence and sales enablement are the large-scale objectives.
Your web copy strategy should also involve:
- Lead generation
- Customer retention
- Nurturing relationships (with customers and affiliate partners)
But before you can go there…
…Your web copy has to start here:
The Audience Says, ‘Are You Talking to Me?’
Whether your online audience is a specific niche or broad-based, your web copy must speak their language – literally and figuratively. The story told should be compelling, yes, but it should be laden with texture and color.
With words? Absolutely. Here’s how.
Great copy should:
- Create a picture
- Create an experience
- Evoke viewer emotion
- Elicit viewer response
In sales, there’s an adage, “You don’t get if you don’t ask.” Use that analogy for web copy. If you don’t ask for a response, you most likely won’t get one.
Use actionable words that entice the user and drive engagement. Where warranted, use the talents of industry experts to help create pertinent content to generate authenticity, which speaks volumes to your business community.
Southern-Fried Chicken Ain’t for Yanks
In marketing and in life, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Once you’ve got a good grasp on who the audience is, remember it with every breath of copy exhaled. It is the crux of web success.
This was evident in an online creative campaign I once worked on for an assisted-living company located in the Southeast. They wanted to appeal to three audiences: those who need in-home care, loved ones of those needing care, and potential health care partners.
In an effort to position this company as an industry resource with empathy for its audience, we created a vlog and blog strategy based on a character named Grace who spoke eloquently with a Southern drawl, of course. Going on about “fixin’ to eat bean pie” may not appeal to a viewer in New York or Arizona, but it didn’t have to. We were targeting the South.
Expectations Are Like Opinions, Everyone Has Them
Now that the importance of audience identification and language, tone and manner has been established, let’s delve into the realm of expectations.
Web copy directly and indirectly sets up the following expectations about your business:
- Products or services
- End result
Take a web walk through your site to ensure that the above-listed expectations mirror what your content speaks.
Words Can Over-Promise and Under-Deliver
Copy can be overzealous in approach, dialect and rhythm. But at the end of the consumer web experience, did the copy tell a good story for story’s sake, or did it pitch the truth?
Put a filter on self-serving creativity. It might get you an entry into The Webby Awards, but that doesn’t mean you’ve attracted your viewers, much less represented your product or service honestly.
The No. 1 Question in Web Copywriting
With every piece of content you put out there to support your business, ask yourself (from the reader’s perspective), “Do I care?” The answer should be an unequivocal, “Yes!”
The Best Web Copy Show and Tell Safeguard
To stay a head above your competitors’ web positioning, think hats. Your brand positioning is one hat, and your audience is another hat. With the right web copy, you can show and tell your company’s story in a manner that resonates with your audience and reflects your brand.
And then your two hats effectively become one. Isn’t that the point of your website?
Really interesting to find out the stats on the amount of online mobile users in this day and age. Thought it was high however did not know it was that high. Good post and great tips for web writing !!
Who knew that words could be so important? (writers and attorneys, that’s who) LOL
Agree with the idea that the audience wants their information put right in front of them. No one wants to go searching for information so making sure you keep an audience hooked is key in online marketing .
Chris, sometimes I like to think of content as being a symbolic ‘hammer’. Words and design need to be impactful enough to hit the viewer on the head, so to speak, though I’m not sure it should be a painful experience. LOL